Product Reviews August 29, 2011

Castelli's 'Squadra' Windproof Jacket

One of the trappings of cycling more is owning more kit. The two are not necessarily related, but my hypothesis is this; the more you cycle, the more likely you are to do it in inclement weather and the only way to be relatively comfortable is to wear the right clothing. As Summer draws to a close and the air starts to get an autumnal chill to it, it's time to don  a jacket over your jersey. The challenge is the have something lightweight that you can easily stow away for when the sun comes out, but offers sufficient protection from the wind and the odd shower. My current jacket, a relic/souvenir from Cycle Oregon 2008 still acts as a decent windstopper - though it's now lost any waterproofing qualities it originally had. Upgrade required.

Not wishing to spend more than £40 on a light weight jacket I investigated both Wiggle and ChainReaction for potential options. Castelli's offering - the 'Squadra' (long) seemed like a decent buy, coming in at about £35. Sold, to me. 

Castelli are an Italian manufacturer of quality cycling apparel (established 1876). This is an important fact because of their sizing. Despite buying 'XL', it came up pretty tight and more importantly it was a bit short in the arm....as well as the body. So all in all it was too small. I then recalled that Italian clothing is notoriously tight fitting. The cut of this jacket is no exception. However, the last time I checked, I was NOT an Orangutan. According to Castelli though, my arm length must be something akin to that of a species of great ape.....because out-stretched the arms are more '3/4 length' than anything else. 

It's a shame because other than that it's a pretty good jacket. 

In terms of meeting my original criteria, it easily compacts down into a jersey pocket and takes edge off the wind and a short shower if necessary. It has a longer tail at the back so it doesn't ride up and keeps the draft out. It's vented at the side, helping to keep you cool at the same time. One reason why it is so close fitting, is that it has no pockets. No problem for me because it really was only designed as another layer. This might put others off. Colour-wise the 2011 edition it comes fluro yellow, white and black. Being a believer of being as visible as possible, I plumped for the fluro version. Wear glasses - it's bright. 

In summary, for £35 I think this represents good value. Definitely only a Autumn jacket, I'm not sure how it would fair in a sustained shower. Careful about ‘sizing’ if you are on the larger side though. 

I ended exchanging it for XXL version. 

As with most cycling purchases, bikebritain bought this from www.wiggle.co.uk. 

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